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Playtech looking to spend $800 million on acquisitions, chairman quits

LONDON (Reuters) - Gaming software developer Playtech is looking to spend more than 600 million euros ($800 million) on acquisitions, as it looks to take advantage of more people betting on bingo and sport on their mobile phones and tablets.

The company also said its chairman of seven years, Roger Withers, would leave in October and would be replaced by senior non-executive director Alan Jackson.

With no debt and having netted 424 million pounds in March after William Hill bought out its stake in a joint Internet venture, Chief Executive Mor Weizer said that the company was on the hunt for bolt-on and strategic buys.

"Playtech has more than 500 million euros on its balance sheet and it has access to more than 100 million euros in credit facilities," he said on Thursday.

"It's a very good position to be in and definitely we expect to use that to take the company to the next level," he said.

Playtech, which develops software for betting firms such as Paddy Power and Betfair bought poker community Pokerstrategy.com for 38.3 million euros in July.

The company posted a 13 percent jump in first half-earnings on Thursday and said it was confident of meeting full year market expectations.

It said underlying adjusted earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortization was 78.9 million euros ($105 million) for the six months to the end of June, compared with 69.8 million euros last year.

Total revenues were up 15 percent to 176.8 million euros, while underlying adjusted net profit was 11 percent higher at 69.7 million euros, the company said.

Daily average revenues over the first sixty days of the third quarter were more than 10 percent higher than the same period last year, it said. It also announced an interim dividend of 7.8 euro cents per share, the same as last year.

Shares in Playtech, which have risen by 78 percent over the past year, were down 0.53 percent at 0718 GMT valuing the company at 1.94 billion pounds ($3 billion.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Rhys Jones and Louise Ireland)

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